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Iran's labor turmoil reveals Mullas' end 'matter of time'

Angry Iranian workers protest for their economic demands

In late February, an Iranian young man set himself on fire in Fardis, near the capital Tehran when the police attempted to demolish his unlicensed store. A footage of the incident went viral on social media causing wide-spread uproar. Over the past few months, similar incidents of economic turmoil surfaced.  

Although the Iranian regime managed to suppress the sweeping protests that hit some 75 Iranian cities on December 28 and killed more than 25 protesters, new labor strikes tell a new uprising is still in the horizons. 

The Shiite country tried to privatize some industries of its state-run economy. However, this finally led to a more powerful grip of wealthy and corrupt elite, according to observers.

Workers at the Iran National Steel Industrial Group in the southwestern province of Ahvaz have staged a strike to get their salaries. Sources say around 4,000 workers in the company are suffering deteriorating economic situation.

On March 4, the workers of Arak’s HEPCO Corporation extended their protest from Arak to Tehran where they protested in front of the Iranian Privatization Organization.

HEPCO was privatized 10 years ago. Its workers have not received their salaries in eight months. They chanted slogans against the clerical regime's corruption and oppression.

“Poor worker should be executed, an economic corrupter should be freed” and “Peace be upon the oppressor, death to the worker,” they said.

Iranian police have detained some demonstrators.

Meanwhile, Iran's notorious security apparatus controls much of the country's economy. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) runs controls 15 to 30 percent of the staggering economy.

Also, banks remain hobbled by billions of dollars in bad loans, some from the era of nuclear sanctions and others tainted with fraud. The collapse last year of the Caspian Credit Institute, which promised depositors the kinds of returns rarely seen outside of Ponzi schemes, showed the economic desperation faced by many in Iran.

This comes as the Iranian currency continues to slump as further international sanctions loom. The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against Iran’s tuman has recently hiked from 3,700 tumans to the dollar in March 2017 to 4,700 tumans to the dollar in January this year.

Now more than 3.2 million Iranians are jobless with the unemployment rate is exceeding 11 percent.

The fears from a new social explosion drew the attention of the clerically run government.

 Iranian parliament which is currently considering the state budget said it would amend governmental plans to improve the economic situation for the poor. It suggested that the salaries of those getting the minimum wages to be increased by 18 percent.

However, this never led to any improvement on the ground.

President Hassan Rouhani suggested holding a referendum, without revealing what would be voted on. He called all factions that oppose his rule to avoid what he called "fight", calling for a ballot.

Opposition activist, Mehdi Karroubi, who is under house arrest, urged Khamenei in an open letter to shoulder responsibility for economic, political and cultural failures.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acknowledged the depths of the problems ahead of the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution.

Khamenei admitted failures and injustice, saying his regime should "apologize to Allah the people."

The apology of Khamenei, who is seen by hard-liners as the representative of God on earth, reveals evidence that a new uprising is looming over Iran.


Last Modified: Sunday، 11 March 2018 02:13 AM